Latest News and Updates (12/4/17 @9pm)
SPILLWAY FLOW UPDATE
Per Me – 12/4/2017
- I spoke with Don Groom today after hearing that the flows on Spillway Creek seemed to be higher. According to Don, The CORP managed to get the broken Low Flow Gate closed all the way. To offset this, they opened the easternmost tainter gate a few inches so that the predicted flow down Spillway Creek is up at 96 cfs. Don’t expect any more than that for the foreseeable future as the lake is still 9’+ below normal with minimal rain in the forecast.
- According to Don, the CORP has postponed the low flow gate repair until after the Holidays.
- With the impending closure of all water release still expected during these repairs, the ODWC has decided to stay with the plan of not removing the stop logs so as to give the trout as much water as possible when the repair time comes.
Per Me – 11-14/2017
I have not been up since October fourth so I am running on reports from others:
The stream temps have finally cooled to the mid-60’s and the fishermen that I have spoken with are doing quite well. And instead of going into a bunch of odd little tidbits I am just going to post an update from Don Groom, ODWC. It will answer some of the questions you may have about the current situation and give you an idea on where you may want to go to wet a line over the coming weeks.
Many of you by now have noticed a reduction in the flows from spillway. The reduced flows are not a result of the bridge construction as many are attributing to. Last week, as part of scheduled maintenance, the USACE conducted a visual inspection of spillway structure components. This inspection required the flow to be lowered for a brief period. Following the inspection there was an issue with the valve that has prevented further operation. The USACE have measured the current release spillway at approximately 59 cfs.
Per Me – 10/21/2017
Per Me – 10/15/2017
Obviously, it has been a long while since my last update. Frankly, there has not been a lot to convey. The river is trudging along – barely. Last week was our usual fall board meeting where we managed to bring together enough board members for a quorum and conduct the small amount of business we had in front of us.
The park and construction company are making headway on the washed out bridge. While it may seem like it’s taking forever, if you look at the work being done, it seems that the replacement will be quite substantial and a great improvement.
I want to take a minute and thank the park and Jim Miller in particular. Since he OK’ed and we installed the “Entry Into Water By Anglers Only” signs, I have not gotten a single email or text of boaters or swimmers on Spillway Creek. I’m not saying that it hasn’t happened but the signs are working as hoped and has cut the problem down immensely.
This is no secret from what I’ve seen, but the water is VERY warm in Spillway and they are only stocking the upper parts. If you go, that explains why you see everyone at the top.
Don Groom, from the ODWC, was not able to attend but was kind enough to send me an update which is posted below. He also told me the following items in the email: After reviewing the brown trout egg inspection reports with our hatchery supervisor, Don notified David Dillow that Don won’t be able to recommend to approve a formal stocking request for the brown trout eggs this year. They will still entertain the request in the future pending test results. Don is going to work over the next year to test LMFR trout to see if there are any diseases that affect our populations that we don’t know about. Don just doesn’t have that info and doesn’t want to take any unnecessary risks. The hatchery supervisor would and has turned down the UFWS (US Fish and Wildlife?) from bringing in trout with similar reports. Don put it in the update, but hopefully the brown trout trade will soften the blow of not having the brown trout eggs this year. If the lower Illinois has still suspended stockings by the time we get the browns, Don will most likely get the full trade of browns (approx. 5000).
“Dear Lower Mountain Fork River Foundation,
As the summer gives way to fall, we continue to stock and closely monitor the water temperatures on the trout stream.
Lake Levels are nearing 8ft below normal. Water discharged through the spillway is pushing 72F during the day and is pushing 75F at the swim beach during the day. We modified stockings as temperatures warmed. At this time we are only stocking directly below the spillway, cardiac hill, and below the first stocking gate downstream of cardiac. Stockings will continue in these areas as long as conditions allow. Once temperatures abate, several stockings will be focused on the lower sections to make up for summer changes. My main concern at this time is the stress placed on fish going from cold water in the hauling tanks (approximately 60.5F) to the warmer stream temps (low 70s). So far we are squeezing by, but I am pushing it.
You may have noticed that I have not requested an increase in flow since early summer. This decision was made based on unknowns regarding inflow and to conserve water. The lake has not been at or above normal since June 2016. In a couple of weeks, the COE will remind me that the water control manual requires a significant reduction in the spillway releases. They will work with me as long as conditions allow. The lower lake levels can have a negative impact on the marina and lake activity, so we must take that into consideration. However, no one wants dead trout. My goal is to keep the trout alive and maintain temperatures regardless. Unlike the lower Illinois, dissolved oxygen is better in the spillway, so we can get by with a little warmer water than they can.
The real-time water monitoring stations are working well. Staff also manually collects temperatures during various stockings at different locations to get more detailed information. In addition to the real-time stations and manual collections, we have temperature data from the current trout study. Tyler pulled his temperature loggers from the river prior to leaving; however, we immediately went back and installed some of our own to continue the data collection. All of the temp data will be vital for future flow management.
As many of you know by now, graduate student Tyler Farling recently moved to Idaho, but others (Mellissa) continue to work through samples and crunching data from this year’s sampling. This week I was able to hear a status update on the trout study provided by OSU’s Dr. Long, and like you, I am anxious to see the final results. We are learning a great deal more about diet habits, bug life, insight into spawning activity and juvenile growth rates. This information will be used to help us determine future management efforts. I will share the final information when it’s available.
Once again, I have had recent staff changes. As a result, I have made some changes that should help provide consistency on our end. I have added a new technician, Mack Wood, who will have primary responsibility in stocking trout and maintaining our stocking access. Jay and Mack will be working closely together on a day to day basis, so Jay will once again be heavily involved in stockings and maintaining access on the trout stream. Mack has a bachelors in Agricultural with a couple of fish related courses mixed in. He worked for our Byron hatchery as an intern for a little over a year, so he comes with a little hatchery experience. I will say he and Jay make a good team.
There have been some questions regarding stocking upper evening hole. One of the purposes of the stocking trailer is to help reach places we can’t get the big truck. Although we have had to divert attention towards more pressing regional concerns, we still intend to improve the access near the evening hole bridge kiosk. This will once again allow the truck and trailer up the side of evening hole to stock that area. Since stocking in that area has been limited due to temperature concerns, it has been put on hold for now.
Due logistics surrounding winter trout fishery stocking, October stockings on the lMFR have been modified. We have not suspended stockings. I throw that out there in hopes to dispel any potential rumors. If it comes to a point where we have to suspend stockings, I will notify the State Parks, COE, Flyshop, and Foundation, as well as posting it on our website and social media. For those who are curious about recent stocking dates, you can find the latest stocking information by viewing and/or subscribing to our fishing reports.
As part of a fish trade with Wyoming, we will be stocking brown trout in a couple of weeks. These should be approximately two and half fish per lb. Since the lower Illinois has recently suspended stockings, there is the possibility we well get the whole trade which is approximately 5,000 fish. I will provide a stocking report once they make it in the water and I have final numbers. Also, it looks like the first of the federal mitigation fish will be arriving the first week in December. This should be four trucks carrying about 2,000 each (rainbows).
As I stated at the last Foundation meeting, due to other region priorities, we are not considering any renovation work at this time. We will continue to focus efforts on stockings, maintaining signs, stocking access, and collecting water temperature information.
In closing, I have a request. I receive very little feedback regarding fishing reports in Zone 3, even in the winter months when it is stocked. Any information that can be funneled my way would be much appreciated.
As always, thank you for your support.”
Regional Fisheries Supervisor
Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation
Per Me – 8/2/2017
Tyler Farling, OSU grad student
I had a long chat with Tyler Farling yesterday. He called because his work and study on our river is finished. The data will be ready next year (he will fit right into a government job). However, we have all been kept up-to-date on his findings and have been pleased with the results. We will get a full report when ready.
- He and his wife have moved to Utah for her new job and he has something lined up with the wildlife department.
- He called to thank us all for the scholarship money we granted him. He could not say enough about how it helped him and the techs out while they were at the river. He used it all. And when he started this project he never thought he would find the help, friendliness, friends, and support that all of us have given them during their time here.
- Melissa, his tech – and a researcher in her own right – who does the bug studies has continued to come up every month and sample. She is continuing on her own and we may be hearing from her. But preliminary results are that the bugs are repopulating spillway at an amazing pace. Stoneflies are already almost all the way back up spillway creek, as well as midges and some caddis.
- One other note that Tyler told me is that in his dissections he has found that our rainbow trout are feeding on crawdads when they are as small as 4”. We have very carnivorous rainbows!!
- So – from Tyler and the crew, “Thank you LMFRF for everything you have done to help us!”
Per Me – 7/12/2017
- Below are some photos taken today by Aaron Brister and Tyler Farling showing the work being done to narrow Cold Hole Lake.
Per Me – 7/10/2017
- NEW LMFRF T-SHIRTS are in at the Fly Shop. We have two new colors of short-sleeve tees available now. One is the brick red that was so popular in the long-sleeve and the other is a chambray. These shirts are extremely comfortable, fit great, and do NOT shrink. Quantities are limited so rush on down!
- It’s SUMMERTIME. And with that comes the hordes of people who cannot or will not follow the rules. Be patient, please. Everyone is well aware that MANY people are not following the regulations and are getting away with it.
- Work continues on the new Cold Hole bridge. There is no estimate on a completion date.
- As an email reminded me: The Red Zone signs were replaced some time ago at the location of the Cold Hole bridge. From that time forward, the Red Zone regulations were put back into force. When the Game Wardens are around. Please: as a courtesy and out of a sense of responsibility, learn the State fishing regulations so that we can all enjoy the fishery, now and in the future.
- According to the ODWC, they have their plates over-full with work and it may be well over a year before they are back on our river to do any more repair work from flood damage.
- According to the newest rules from the USACE: There is no entry into the water for the first 300 feet below any dam structure. You will also notice the buoy line that has been added across the stream going from the Generation sluice up to the Swim Beach bridge. There is NO entry into the water below this per the USACE. You will be given a ticket.
- (Comment on 300′ restriction) – REDACTED
- Many of us watch the ODWC put trout on the downstream side of the Evening Hole bridge to stock the Blue Zone. Then we see them move the truck to the upstream side and stock the Red Zone from there. Many people were under the impression that all the fish just go under the bridge and into the Blue Zone. The following link will take you to a video shot by our new Streams Biologist, David Bogner. It shows how the trout hit the water and instinctively move upstream against the current.
Per Me – 6/8/2017
- ANNOUNCING the next open board meeting is Saturday, June 24th at 5pm at the Forest Heritage Center. Feel free to come on by and hear what’s going on with our projects and the latest news from various agencies. A catered dinner is at 5 and the meeting starts promptly at 5:30.
- The 61st OK Youth Forestry Camp is currently going on in the park. The fly fishing portion is over and was a success despite the trout not wanting to cooperate on Wednesday. I would like to thank: Eddie and Roberta Brister, Jenny Woodruff, Jim Kelly, Bill Leinberger, Lew Duckwall, David Dillow, Bill Alexander, Donny Carter, Deborah Tepe, and Chris Murdock for coming out and guiding and teaching the kids.
- The ODWC has hired their new stream biologist, David Bogner. A pleasant your man a bit overwhelmed by the park crowds. I assured him it was just the summer crush.
- The ODWC spent Tuesday installing the NEW water monitoring stations at the swim beach and at the top of Spillway. This should go a long way on improving the quality of the stream and staying on top of any gate changes that need to be made.
- Work has begun for the new bridge. It will include removing the old culvert and burning the dead trees. The installation of the new bridge requires 78 ton cranes. The bridges are only rated to 36 tons. We will see how this plays out.
(What we spied when we walked in.)
(The start of the demolition on Tuesday)
(Wednesday afternoon they were trucking out the pieces)
Per Me – 6/4/2017
- ANNOUNCING the next open board meeting is Saturday, June 24th at 5pm at the Forest Heritage Center. Feel free to come on by and hear what’s going on with our projects and the latest news from various agencies. A catered dinner is at 5 and the meeting starts promptly at 5:30.
- This week will be the yearly Oklahoma Youth Forestry Camp heard at Beavers Bend State Park and we will once again be teaching fly fishing on Tuesday and Wednesday. If you are coming up, be prepared to abandon the Evening Hole those afternoons as will will invade in force with teenagers.
- The lake is holding at 2′-3′ below full pool. The rains have been spotty and we just haven’t gotten that last bit of rain to get us over the top yet.
- In May there was concern over the river temps as they were at or around 70 degrees most likely due to lake turn over. I just got a call that Evening Hole is back down to 64 degrees and slowly dropping.
- Tyler has shocked a couple of Vibert box brown trout along with many juvenile rainbows. The latest were just above and below the Evening Hole bridge. The juveniles were so small they could fall through the net holes. This alludes to a very recent and late spawn in our river. Very nice!
- The graduates have also sampled golden stonefly nymphs in spillway, so they are moving back in slowly. They also found Hexagenia in the sandy areas of Evening Hole. So they have not totally disappeared and we may get another hatch later this summer.
- Word from the Park is that the first thing we should see in construction should be the removal of the old bridge culvert from the corner of the Bluff Area.
- Chiggers are out in force. Be prepared and use some type of spray if you are wet wading and going into some of the more remote areas.
Per Me – 5/8/2017
- The rains have been off and on but the lake is slowly filling. The lake is now only 3′ below summer full pool of 601’+.
- The CORP, in their infinite wisdom and ability to learn from past mistakes, has decided that this would be a good time to shut the turbines down for maintenance. Sound ominously familiar? They will turn Spillway flows up to 140cfs this afternoon and plan on running it that way through Thursday, 5/10. This should actually make for some exciting new opportunities on Spillway as there will be good holding that was just too skinny since last summer.
- Rumor has it that the new bridge bid has come back and there is enough to get a bridge, remove the culvert from the Bluff Corner, and get rid of all the trees and brush at the inside corner of Cold Hole. My understanding is that they have 300 days to do this – so, next year some time? If they don’t file for an extension?
- The fishing has both been good and frustrating. There are plenty of trout and the water is great. Reports are vague but promising.
- As well as the regular State stocking amounts, the following is a listing of the Federal Mitigation Stockings since my last update in late March (Each truckload is approx. 2100 trout):
- March 23rd – One truck in 40′ Hole.
- April 13th: Two truckloads in Zone Two, one at each tube.
- From December through April approx. 10,500 rainbows have been stocked in Zone Two
- From December through April approx. 4,200 rainbows were stocked in Zone Three.
- The Oklahoma Youth Forestry Camp is the first full week of June. Once again, we will be there to teach 50 teenagers how to fly fish.
- The June board meeting of the LMFRF will be held in the Forest Heritage Center on Saturday, 6/24 at 5:00pm. Everybody is welcome.
- Per Me – 3/24/2017
- Per ODWC – The work on the Evening Hole is NOT finished. They have to fit it in where time and scheduling allow.
- Park Ranger Jim Miller reported the park’s major water lines were bored under the river to help prevent future damage from possible flooding; pavement of approached to both bridges is almost complete; new Cold Hole bridge hopefully to be completed as soon as June.
- Park Ranger Gary Hawkins discussed the May 2nd park cleanup by 6th graders from all over the local area. Expecting about 290 youth participants plus heavy support from local Law Enforcement Agencies.
- Spillway flow will be 95cfs for the foreseeable future, the intended replacement of temperature gauges in the stream is ongoing, the improved stocking access points and truck and trailer for such stockings. The Evening Hole is in the process of being restored and new signage is ready and will be posted soon.
- Tyler Farling (OSU Graduate Student) reported on the stream study. His report indicated the presence of naturally reproducing rainbow trout in the stream. The presence of approximately 18 redds in the stream. Melissa Reed caught us up on the bug life. Spillway has plenty of food for the trout in the way of black flies, caddis flies, stoneflies, sow bugs. Mayflies are starting to regenerate and move up.
- Tyler Farling and his techs have very little money to live on while at the river doing research. The LMFRF made a $1600 grant to the OSU Foundation for a scholarship. Tyler won the scholarship and now they can afford decent lodging and food for the year.
- Foundation mugs and t-shirts are available for sale at Beavers Bend Fly Shop.
Per Me – 2/8/2017
- The ODWC has started the repair work on the Evening Hole. Jay Barfield has been working on it for the last 4 days. As I said, the have ‘started’. Patience people. They are not done yet. Preliminary reports are very positive. Trout were top feeding within minutes of Jay pulling out. And as you can see in the picture below, the wild touri have already been spotted back in their perches, standing on the trout.
- The February open board meeting if Friday night, February 24th at the Forest Heritage Center. Please call Linda King at Fish Tales Winery if you plan on attending so that we order enough food.
- The annual Mystery Fly ® Tournament will be held at 6:30 Saturday (2/25) morning at the usual Bever Lodge Nature Trail Parking Lot. Please sign up on the web site.
(Evening Hole Looking Upstream From South Side of Bridge)
(From North Side of Bridge)
(From Eddie’s New Favorite Spot)
Per Me – 1/25/2017
- It is with ecstatic pleasure that I am announcing, that if all goes according to schedule, the ODWC will start the major repair of the Evening Hole (from the EH Bridge up to the bottom of the rock hill) on February 6th.
- This will include dredging all (what they can get) the substrate out back down to the bedrock, rebuilding and bringing in the sides to the previous channel dimensions, rebuilding the small islands, and putting in all new, larger, and more structure. It will be somewhat different due to the new channels through the woods, but not much. They do NOT expect to remake the useless Wetlands area.
Per Me – 1/12/2017
Just a note: The Project Healing Waters, North Texas Chapter – or North Texas Healing Waters, or Healing Waters North Texas – is now North Texas Patriot Anglers. This is still the same program run by Lew Duckwall with all the same people. It’s just a name change. The first trip of the year is next week, Tues. through Thurs.
Per Me – 1/5/2017
Don’t forget that the annual Mystery Fly Tournament is on Saturday, February 25th. Please go to the page that will explain all the details.
The reports have been very good – at least from the good fishermen. So get up there. Winter is some of the best time on the river.
Please read the notice below before you get all irate and call the law:
Per Me – 12/22/2016
- LMFRF long-sleeved t-shirts are now available at the fly shop.
- The Park started work yesterday rerouting the water lines at the Evening Hole Bridge and the Fly Shop Bridge. As opposed to running exposed on the side of the bridges they are tunneling under the river. This is to ensure a clean water supply to the Park in the event of another “flood”. This work should have no effect upon the fishing.
Per Me – 12/12/2016
- The stop logs are out, a bit late but they are out.
- The fishing has been spectacular since the temps have cooled a bit. Large trout and many browns have reappeared from wherever they hang during the heat.
- Patriot Anglers (Project Healing Waters) had their November trip and Lew Duckwall reports that it was another successful outing. See the pic below for an idea.
- David Dillow headed up the Vibert Box Program again this year. After some fits and starts, we got approval from the State and 10,000 fertilized brown trout eggs were planted at the beginning of December. I will write a fully report when I learn the hatch rate and get more info for you.
- Don Groom, from the ODWC, has given me the update below to pass on. Hopefully this will cut down on the questions and concerns about the river. It’s a work in progress at Government speed.
- Began a research project looking at trout reproduction
- Procured a fish hauling tank/trailer to better facilitate stockings
- Improved/created stocking access
- Update and replaced signage,
- Removed the lost creek diversion structure
- Reworked bank access at the bluff hole
- Improved fishing access around sediment pile
- Improved channel and confluence of upper evening hole waters
Per Me – 11/28/2016
Below is a aerial view video that Mike Love just shot of the first part of the Evening Hole repairs. Thank you Mike! And that you to the State Park for allowing us to provide this to our members and the public.
Per Me – 11/22/2016
- Just got back from a day or so on the river. Well, a few hours since I was taking care of LMFRF business and had the family with me. But, I got out for a bit.
- The fishing was great. There had been reports of browns but I took them with a grain of salt. They were true! I got into browns on dry and wet flies. And also a bunch of rainbows on wets. Very good fishing.
- Black Caddis are coming off and they are rising to them all through the Evening Hole.
- I had been getting mixed reviews on the work done by the ODWC so I looked myself. Knowing exactly what they were trying to accomplish with the rental equipment, I would grade the work at about a 90. The reworked tail-out from the cypress trees is very good and the new, widened run up the bluff side of the rock pile is excellent with many and different types of trout-holding water. Also, the level walkway up both sides is a great improvement.
- The corner of the Bluff and from the middle of Evening Hole down still needs a BUNCH of work, but all in good time. I think this is a very good start to the huge job ahead of them.
- Beavers Bend Fly Shop has the new LMFRF shirts and coffee mugs. All proceeds go to the general funds for improving the river. Mugs are $11.95 and the t-shirts are $24.95. These are high quality shirts that will NOT shrink (I’ve been wearing this brand from other fly shops for years). We have mostly L, and XL, with some S, M, and 2XL. The color is a dark sage green.
(Mugs – $11.95)
(Front – $24.95)
Per Tyler Farling – 11/17/2016
- Per Tyler Farling: “We took a long at some preliminary growth data and found that the juvenile trout we sampled in the Cypress run area were showing a growth rate around 0.93 mm per day. The juveniles we sampled in the tributary were are 0.13 mm per day. We have not done a full analysis on the bug or diet data but preliminary data suggests the diet of the smaller tributary trout is largely made up of terrestrial insects while the main river fish with larger growth are feeding off of isopods, mayflies, and caddisflies (aquatic insects). The growth is on par or slightly higher than the average for the growth in other southern tailwater fisheries such as Lees Ferry in Arizona. They were showing a growth rate of 0.84 mm per day. We will have a better understanding as we collect more data through next year and our sample size increases (hopefully). I know everyone wants to know what that calculates to for a year in inches and its approximately 13” per year. Of course, that implies that growth remains constant throughout the year so these are just assumptions at this point in the process but encouraging nonetheless.”
- This means that our wild trout are growing at 1″ per month and our wild one-year-olds are 12″ (for those that are mathematically challenged). We never thought that our growth rates were this good. This is excellent news on the state of our river.
Per Me – 11/14/2016
From Don Groom, ODWC:
- As usual, the week had its share of setbacks. Due to equipment repairs the rental company was not able to deliver the excavator until mid-day Tuesday. There were a couple of other minor issues that took a few hours throughout the week to resolve as well.
- We were able to widen the channel from the bluff down and put in a “shelf” for use as path to walk along side. We had to do a little work on on the head of the small branch that goes into the trees at the top of the rock pile to maintain its flow after widening the other channel.
- The confluence of the two channels at the base of the sediment pile was reworked to improve flow and access.
- The bank below the confluence was also cleaned up and a log was set in the bank to provide a “bench” for anglers to rest on.
- Jay was able to place several large boulder structures in the middle sections of evening hole before time ran out.
- See pictures Below.
- Just a comparison shot of what the LMFRF helped rent for Don and the crew to make repairs. On the right is the ODWC bulldozer and the rental is on the left. The background and foreground are a teaser on their work.
Per Me – 11/10/2016
- Just in case you really didn’t realize how big the substrate pile at the top of Evening Hole is: This is the new rental dozer the ODWC got to use this week. Biggest dozer they could get. Work has started on reconfiguring the rock pile and the channels on either side. If you don’t think the dozer is that big, look at the tiny, tiny person to the right and beyond it.
Per Me – 11/5/2016
- The ODWC has finally gotten everything in order to start repairs in the Evening Hole and Bluff areas. This will be a long process as it has to be done in stages and when the ODWC can figure it into their schedule.
- Stage one should start next week with the arrival of the XL equipment on Monday, 11/7. The main objective will be to reconfigure the giant rock pile and river at the top of the Evening Hole.
- Expect muddy water downstream from the rock pile most of, or all of, next week.
- There will be some other smaller objectives completed and will include anything where this huge rental equipment would be needed. They are trying to do all the big stuff in one week to minimize the costs incurred with the rentals.
- All other repairs should be able to be completed with their own equipment.
- The approval from the State for the brown trout eggs is still on hold due to some concerns over the health report. Per David Dillow, there is still time to get the eggs, if and when we get the approval.
- If we get the eggs, there will be a frantic email to the membership to come up and help get them planted. We hope that you will come help and see how this process works.
- Tyler Farling, our OSU grad student studying our river, has started his winter work of age dating the fry he sampled this summer and fall. Below are some microscopic slices of otoliths (inner ear bone), looking like tree rings, which is how they date the age of the trout.
Per Me – 10/9/2016
Last night was the fall cookout and board meeting. A fantastic dinner was made again by Linda King and we all ate way too much. “Thank You Linda!” Tom Atwood did the grilling at the pavilion, as usual, and another fine job it was. Below is a brief recap of some of the main points covered. The rest will be available when I post the minutes.
- The washed out bridge latest rumor is that it “may” be replaced in late spring sometime.
- The other chiller will be installed on the trout tank in the nature center next month.
- The Game Wardens have not been using the drone because there has been an issue getting a federal license.
- Don Groom (including Jay, Kyle, and Jennifer) of the ODWC spoke for about an hour catching us up on all sorts of things.
- Main point: Some big upper Evening Hole work will start in a couple of weeks with some VERY big equipment that the Foundation is helping to rent. We have committed to spending up to $5,000 to help them get the equipment they need.
- Spillway flows have been lowered to 120cfs now that we are into the fall period and temps should not be an issue through to spring.
- ODWC is doing a trade with Montana – brown trout for bluegills. Go figure.
- Tyler Farling, our esteemed OSU grad student, gave us a run-down on the paper he published on the rainbow trout reproducing in the LMFR tributaries. He also updated us on the bug life being found on Spillway.
- Next year’s meeting dates are 2/25 Mystery Fly and meeting, 6/24, and 10/7 pot luck dinner. Mark your calendars.
Per Me – 10/4/2016
- The October LMFRF Board meeting is this Saturday, October 8 at 5:00 pm at Stevens Gap Pavilion.
Per Me – 9/20/2016
- The Hex hatch has been surprisingly good this year with excellent fishing towards sundown.
- The ODWC has improved stocking areas and the fishing is slowly improving all over.
- Good fishing has been found from the old Pillar Hole area all the way up to Spillway Dam and from the Bluff down to the 40′ Hole.
- From Don Groom, ODWC:
Per Jim K – 8/18/2016 – PICS BELOW
- The work continues on the handicap access platforms. At the rate they are going they should easily finish by Spring Break.
- The new or improved stocking points, working downriver:
1. Spillway Pool—Completed but Don and Jay said they need to return for more work because the turning radius is too tight.
2. Cardiac Hill (Upper Foot Bridge)—No work has been done but a front end loader is sitting in the middle of the trail awaiting an operator.
3. New Cardiac Hill (Iron Gate below above)—Improved trail is completed including a turnaround at the bottom—Looks great.
4. Lower Foot Bridge—Don does not plan to use this as a regular stocking point but they have graded the trail and can now drive all the way to the water—Looks great. The Power Line Hole stocking tube will not be replaced so he might use this point periodically.
5. Bluffs Area—They have a gravel road that now goes from the old center entry to Lost Creek (our former Vibert Box assembly place) to the Cold Hole, roughly following the old Lost Creek streambed. A branch of this road lead s to the top of the bluffs area.
- In addition, Jay worked with the Track Hoe yesterday PM (until the equipment broke and caused several hours of delay—this is when I had a long visit with Don) and again this AM removing material from the two runs that feed the Bluffs area from the Cold Hole in an attempt to get more water moving through that area.
(The Upper Stocking Road w/ Steel Gate)
(New Stocking Road-Old Lost Creek-View From Cold Hole)
(The Real Cardiac Hill-Upper Parking Lot)
(Upper Stocking Road-View From River)
(Low Water Crossing-View From River)
(New Stocking Road-Old Lost Creek-View From Lost Creek Bend)
(Equipment in Bluff Area)
Per Me – 8/4/2016
The ODWC’s tentative plan per Don Groom is as follows:
- Monday, August 8th-Transport equipment and begin work on upper evening hole stocking access
- Tuesday, August 9th-Transport additional equipment and improve stocking access near pump-house below spillway.
- Wednesday, August 10th-Finish any remaining necessary work at spillway and continue work on upper-evening hole stocking access
- Thursday, August 11th-We will be stocking trout this day using the new upper-evening hole access and will be finishing up any unexpected issues resulting from stocking.
- Friday, August 12th-No anticipated work activity
- Monday August 15th thru Thursday 18th– Transporting material and making improvements to the upper foot bridge trail to improve stocking access, as well as road maintenance at the 1st stocking gate below the spillway.
The schedule is subject to change pending unforeseen equipment challenges and weather….
- The Summer Doldrums are upon us and the ODWC has been strangely silent. Actually, everyone has been silent. I guess it’s too hot to even send me emails and texts of complaints. I was starting to think that they were on their annual summer Holiday, beaching in Aruba on OK license fees. When today I get the following photo:
- (Stocking the Bluff Hole)
- Granted, this is like stocking Lake Superior. But hey, it’s a start. The ODWC has actually been extremely busy behind the scenes getting all their ducks in a row so that when the time comes for the more “visual” work to start, they will be ready to roll.
- Per Me – 7/16/2016
- Tyler Farling, the OSU grad student who is studying our river and the trout has asked me to pass along some information:
- “Just an update on the trout project. We found helgrammites up to the power house this time. We had only found them previously at Pres. Falls. Zone two samplers had very good diversity. Caddis, mayflies, stoneflies, and helgrammites in most samplers. Evening Hole area didn’t have a ton of diversity. Mainly caddis flies and some black fly larvae. Due to heavy foot traffic and already low populations above and below the bridge, I believe this is why the bug life isn’t as good and another reason why people need to stay out of the water and not swim along these areas. We are seeing this same effect in Pres. Falls however, the amount of stoneflies down there are overwhelming and doesn’t impact it in those areas but it will impact zone 1 with less numbers.
- Our juvenile trout are grown up! We can’t catch them anymore. They’ve grown to the size that we are unable to sample them with our methods. We observed multiple, large juveniles moving away from us this trip and only shocked one. We sampled one juvenile in the intermittent stream that was holding over in a pool with some creek chubs.
- Public Service Announcement: If you see one of these (there are 13) places I have put these in the Lower Mountain Fork River. PLEASE DO NOT REMOVE. These have to sit in the water for a month for bugs to colonize them then we count the bugs to quantify abundance for our trout diet analysis. People are removing them and throwing them onto the shoreline. This destroys a whole month of data. If you see one out of the water, please message me so I can take note of it. These usually have large rocks on top of them and are slightly hidden but it takes a good amount of work to remove the large rocks. Thanks to all of you for your support as I continue my two year study on the juvenile trout population in the Lower Mountain Fork River.”
- (Bug Sampler – Leave Them Alone, Please)
- Per Mike Love – 7/4/2016
- Per Don Groom – 7/1/2016
Below is a brief update of ODWC ‘s current status regarding the Lower Mountain Fork Trout Stream.Regulation & Signage update
- New regulations go into effect July 1, 2016.
- Kiosk Signage has been updated. Attached is a sneak peak.
- Staff will begin replacing all the current Kiosk signage and replacing/installing the updated signs/banners in other various locations in next week.
- Staff will be moving/adding the red/blue zone signs at the cold hole bridge to reflect the new boundary changes next week.
Stocking access update
We met with the COE on Tuesday 28th on site to discuss our requests for the following. I hope to have approvals for these items within two weeks. Work would begin as soon as we get the go-ahead.
- Improve area next to pump house below Spillway to better facilitate vehicle & and new stocking trailer access.
- Trim canopy, rework drainage, create vehicle turn-around and acquire gravel from Lost Creek sediment deposit to improve the upper foot bridge path/road to better accommodate the vehicle & new stocking trailer.
- Create a vehicle stocking access road that enters near the old Lost Creek diversion stocking gate and follows the old Lost Creek channel then to the bluff and upper Evening hole area. This would eliminate the need for having to use a 4-wheeler, etc. to stock this area.
- Staff will still be exploring the benefit of using the old road behind the S.P. Admin office.
- Stockings and stocking site selection will be contigent on the previous weeks stocking locations and in consideration of water temperatures.
Water monitoring and flow updateRegion staff continues to monitor the stream temperatures weekly to help us plan for current needs as well as helping us indentify areas of long-term concern following last years floods.
- Afternoon water temperatures as of June 28th
- Coming out of the spillway-61.12F
- Cold Hole surface-66.63F
- Cold Hole bottom-66.03F
- Evening Hole Bridge-67.13F
- Fly shop bridge upstream surface 66.61-F
- Fly shop bridge upstream bottom-64.72F
- Swim beach bridge upstream bottom- 69.62 F
- Swim beach bridge upstream surface-70.12 F
- Broken Bow Lake above spillway surface-88.28 F
- Broken Bow Lake above spillway 30ft-67.85 F
- Broken Bow Lake above spillway 45ft-57.72 F
As of Wed 29th the flows have been increased to 200cfs (will vary slightly based on water elevation). We will sustain this flow for the foreseeable future. We are however, watching the lake temperatures closely to identify potential cold water limitations that may exist in the next couple of months as a result of the increased flows.
Evening Hole repairs
- Staff will check the temperature profiles of the lake and river again next week to monitor the effects of the increased flow.
- Staff is exploring options for re-installing a continuous remote water temperature logger to replace the damaged one from the Dec flood. (This was the unit on the swim beach bridge)
Order of Priorities at this timePlease keep in mind in addition to the trout stream staff have other regional responsibilities. The trout stream is only a small part of Region Management. Our main priorities at this time are to update and install the new signage, monitor/ manage the water temperatures through flow requests to facilitate stocking within the Park, improve current stocking access, and establish Evening Hole stocking access. Secondary priorities include: reworking evening hole channel to promote better water quality and removing the old lost creek diversion structure. ODWC is aware that the Foundation collected a substantial amount of donations dedicated for the sole purpose of funding projects that ensure cold water for the trout stream and seek to cooperate with ODWC to do so. The ODWC appreciates the Foundations patience as we explore such options that are feasible, reasonable, provide long-term solutions, and would have support from all stakeholders to ensure success.I would like to thank the Foundation for its donation support towards the new stocking tank/trailer and also to those members who have supported OSU Graduate Student Tyler Farling has he helps us all gain a better understanding of trout reproduction habitats and growth of juvenile trout in the lower Mountain Fork trout stream. Your knowledge and support of the trout stream is valuable and appreciated.Sincerely,Don GroomODWC Region Fisheries Supervisor
- While meeting with the COE on the 28th, we discussed last years approvals for repair work and how they would/wouldn’t apply going forward. We hope to have official clarification in a couple of weeks along with the stocking access improvement requests. Some may remember last year I was also required to get FWS approval and this held things up substantially. These approvals are still valid.
- Per Me – 6/29/2016
- Water temps are a little on the warm side but the ODWC is keeping close tabs. Surface temps are not the same as the temps down a few feet where the trout hold and they are better.
- The ODWC increased Spillway flows to 200cfs today at 3:30. That’s up from 150cfs.
- Fishing on Spillway Creek is work but can be rewarding. If you think you can go up and throw anything in and expect to catch 20 in a day, go home and brag how good you are, you are in for a rude awakening.
- Zone II and Zone III are warm and are hit-and-miss. Zone III had good reports but was warm enough last week to reward me with smallmouth and crappie (was going for trout).
- Beavers Bend Fly Shop is rocking. They have saved a corner of the shop for LMFRF merchandise and we are looking at new stuff now.
- While we all know that stocking access points are gone and await the ODWC to make new inroads, be aware that the OSU graduate students surveying the river have found a massive loss of bug life on Spillway after the flooding. So while the trout are scarce, there is no food for them anyway until the bugs move back up the river. Only time will heal all this.
- On the up side, the OSU graduate students are finding lots of wild juvenile rainbow trout. The flooding does not seem to have had a detrimental effect on the spawning patterns. And the bug life in Zones II and III is plentiful.
- Per Me – 6/11/2016
- This past week was the 60th Oklahoma Youth Forestry Camp held in Group Camp II in Beavers Bend State Park. Every year the LMFRF spends the Tuesday and Wednesday teaching 50 teenagers how to fly cast and then guide those wanting to try the sport. Once again it was a resounding success. In fact, as a whole, it was the best group of kids we ever had. Although the fishing has been very difficult, almost every camper who went fishing was successful in their first time trying to hook and land a trout. I want to thank Orris for the loan of the class rods – again, Eddie Brister for opening the Fly Shop to our needs and volunteering his time, and volunteers (in no particular order) Deborah Pepe, Jenny Mayrell-Woodruff, Tom Atwood, Jim Kelly, and Jason Leonard. Click on Camp Photos to go see all the pictures.
- The more observant of you will notice brown PVC tubes now attached to the sides of the bear-proof trash cans at the access points. These are monofilament recycling stations; an Eagle Scout project by Bo Baker of Troop 577 in Dallas. Please use it and when you hook 60 yards of 40 pound test line on Spillway, please pack it out and put it in there. It will all be collected and sent to a company that recycles the line into new products. A great way to help keep our river a little cleaner.
- As many of you have noticed (and bombarded me with texts and emails), school is out, vacation has started, and the “Moron Hatch” has begun. There are tubers, kayakers, boaters, swimmers, and general frolickers trying to enjoy themselves all the way from Spillway Dam to the Evening Hole Bridge. I had a long talk with Jim Miller and the Rangers and Wardens are not any happier than we are about the situation. There has been confusion amongst the agencies on the responsibility of replacing signage that got washed away. Jim said that the Park will post new signs at all the access points stating “Entry Into Water By Anglers Only”. But don’t hold your breath on seeing them next week and the ODWC and the Corp. don’t object as far as I’m aware.
- The ODWC stocked this past Thursday and true to their word, along with the new trailer and tank, are able to access more spots. Word is that there were able to stock in six separate locations so as to try to help spread the trout out.
- Preliminary reports from Tyler Farling, the OSU grad student doing river studies, are promising. He is finding wild, juvenile rainbow trout all over the river. The bug life, not looking too good in Zone I right now, seems to have been unaffected by the flooding in Zones II and III.
- Per Me – 5/31/2016
- Despite all the rain received, the lake is only 1′ into the flood pool and inflows are back down. I do not foresee the Corp opening Spillway Tainter Gates at this time.
- Beavers Bend Fly Shop opened this past Saturday! Stop in and refill your vest with all those things that only work for everyone else!
- (The New And Improved Beavers Bend Fly Shop)
- Per Me – 5/21/2016
- Beavers Bend Fly Shop should be back open, up and running in the next couple of weeks.
- Fishing in the Park has been tough. But Zones 2 and 3 have been getting excellent reports.
- Tyler Farling, the OSU grad student doing studies on the river, has had excellent luck finding many wild juvenile rainbow trout.
- Per Me – 5/10/2016
- The Corp closed the gates yesterday and Spillway Creek is back down to a 130cfs flow. Fish away!
- Per Me – 5/5/2016
- The Corp open two tainter gates yesterday to .5′.
- This makes Spillway flow about 1100cfs.
- Still fishable but we want to deter kids and older folk from wading in this kind of current.
- The lake is up about 9′ or 10′ and they are trying to get that down.
- On the plus side, the ODWC got to use the new smaller tank they got for stocking and were able to access some of the upper reaches and use the high flows to spread the fish out.
- Three compartments were put in up at Spillway Dam and Cardiac Hill, Two compartments went in upstream of Evening Hole Bridge, and one compartment at the old low water crossing.
- The next object on Don’s list is to get the stocking road back to the Bluff Area opened again and start stocking the Red Zone. Think early June – sort of, maybe.
- (The Smaller Truck With The New Stocking Trailer)
- (Does This Tank Make My Butt Look Big?)
- (Fully Electrical AND Oxygenated!)
- (Backing Down Cardiac Hill)
- (Stocking at Cardiac Hill)
- (Stocking Spillway Dam 1st Time Since December!!!)
- Per Me – 4/28/2016
- The Corp has shut the Spillway tainter gates.
- The lake is only 3′ above full pool.
- Still releasing through both turbines so Zone 2 and Zone 3 remain unfishable.
- Per Me – 4/27/2016
- Sorry this is a bit delayed. Life got in the way of the important stuff.
- On Monday, 4/25, the Corp opened 2 Spillway gates .5′ so there is 1000cfs going down Spillway. After saying in December that they do not look at forecasts, they opened the gates this time in anticipation of the possible storms on Wednesday. Go figure!
- The gates will remain open for an undetermined amount of time.
- Zone 1 is still fishable at this level but we discourage children and older folks from doing so.
- The Corp has been releasing from both generators since last Saturday in an effort to lower the lake level which is about 7 or 8 feet high. Zone 2 and Zone 3 are not fishable.
- The Board meeting was heald at the Forest Heritage Center, as usual, and Catered by Roma’s Restaurant in Idabel. We had a very good turn out – most likely due to the food and raffle. There were representatives from the Park and from the ODWC. The Game Wardens didn’t make it as they were still walking the river ensuring good behavior.
- To recap the meeting:
- Park maintenance asked that we purchase light bars for their trucks as they are very exposed when cleaning along the roads. It passed. Other than that, the Park is slowly recovering from the flood.
- The Board also passed a motion to purchase 2 additional bear-proof trash cans, one to replace the one lost in the flood (again) and another to be put on the south side of Evening Hole bridge.
- ODWC agreed that if we decide to purchase extra trout for the red zone that they will have the ability to stock them in there and would do so.
- If you remember the flood of ’09, it was almost 3 years before the Cold Hole Bridge was paved. We had concerns about the unpaved approaches to the fly shop bridge and the EH bridge remaining unpaved. Mike Love and I reached out to State Rep. John Tadlock about the situation and we got a reply that it is in the works. Maybe that will get done before the summer crowds hit.
- ODWC recap: Don Groom came to give us an update on repairs and overall river situation.
- Stocking is continuing as usal with the inclusion of Federal Mitigation Trout.
- With the loss of stocking access points, they are trying to put fish in at the top of Spillway when flows are up so that they move down to unaccessable areas.
- Increasing the number of stocking points is the priority right now.
- Towards that endeavor, they have purchased a new 300-gallon tank and trailer to go behind the small truck. This will allow them to get to some additional spots.
- They repaired the tank that goes on the trailer we bought for behind an ATV. They are starting to use this also to get to even more spots.
- They have a new working model of using portable stocking tubes to access other spots.
- Permitting, plans, and paperwork has started for repairs to the bluff and Evening Hole. It will get done. But not until they get a better idea on the Corp’s plan for future management of Zone 1 and after the spring flood threat has passed.
- After a few years of us being unable to financially support the ODWC in river work, we have figured out how to do this again. Which is our main purpose anyway. It used to be that they would ask for money and then get the matching Federal funds and do the work. Sometimes it helped, sometimes the work was a dud (think Bubble Diffusers). Now they will use their State funds along with the Federal monies. If the work is successful, we will vote to reimburse them the 25% State funds to go back into their coffers for use on the next project. Now we won’t get stuck on the hook for a bad deal and we get to help the river again.
- Some of you may know of the “dry” wash that runs on the right, beside the stocking road that went down to the low water crossing on Spillway. It has had running water since the flooding, rains, and high lake levels. We shocked up that tributary and found over 50 rainbow fry up to 1/2 mile up from Spillway. That means at least 1 pair of trout went up that thing and spawned. Simply incredible.
- We have an OSU graduate student, Tyler Farling, conducting a couple of multi-year studies on our stream with a $100,000.00 grant. He was at the meeting to discuss his work and was gracious enough to take Tom Atwood and me out for some shocking work. One study will be of the trout food bug life in our river. A second one will be of the substrate make-up of the bottom. The other one is the study of the rainbow reproduction that we have. Where it happens, when it happens, where they go, and their survivability percentages. This is info that we have been very interested in obtaining for years.
- The Oklahoma Youth Forestry camp is the first full week of June. We teach fly-casting to the whole camp and take a group out fishing in the afternoon. This happens on the Tuesday and Wednesday. If you feel that this is something that you would like to do, please get hold of me.
- North Texas Healing Waters’ next trip for the vets is May 17-19. Contact Lew Duckwall or go to their web site if you are interested in guiding some vets for a few days.
- Reel Recovery has an outing this weekend on the river. If you are interested, contact Marty Weaver or get on their web site for the Oklahoma Chapter.
- These are all very good causes. Please think about giving a bit of your time to share our sport to those that could really use it.
- Beavers Bend Fly Shop is coming along nicely and should be finished soon. Although the RV has been a Godsend, it will be nice to have a shop back.
- Fish Tales Winery is open and doing business. The wines that Jesse and Linda King are making are very good. Stop by after a good or bad day on the river. It will make it all better.
- (Shocking for Trout Fry up a “Dry” Wash)